HHS said last month that the state’s abortion coverage requirement violated federal law that banned government entities that receive HHS funding from discriminating against health-care organizations because they don’t provide abortion or abortion coverage. “The Trump Administration’s threats not only put women’s health on the line, but illegally threaten crucial public health funding that Californians rely on,” said California Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a letter to HHS.
The Wall Street Journal: California Disputes Trump Administration’s Claim That Abortion-Coverage Mandate Violates U.S. Law
California disputed a Trump administration assertion that the state is violating U.S. law by requiring insurers to cover abortion, after federal officials threatened to withhold funding if it doesn’t change its policy. California Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that the state’s abortion-coverage requirement wasn’t in violation of federal law. It also noted that California provided a religious exemption in 2015 to the mandate. (Armour, 2/21)
Meanwhile, in other news —
Roll Call: Reproductive Rights Fractures Coalition Of Church-Affiliated Investment Groups
A coalition of church-affiliated pension funds and other religious investment groups that leverages billions of dollars in shareholdings to push for change in corporate boardrooms may be disrupted as the debate over abortion comes to a head in the U.S. Pressing for environmental, social and governance (ESG) change is a role religious investment groups have played since at least the 1970s, using their shares to press companies to lead when politicians won’t. The movement has enjoyed successes on issues auch as curbing the opioid epidemic, addressing climate change and President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. (Weiss, 2/21)
The Associated Press: States Step Up Funding For Planned Parenthood Clinics
Severalstates have begun picking up the tab for family planning services at clinics run by Planned Parenthood, which last year quit a $260 million federal funding program over a Trump administration rule prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions. States including New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii already are providing new funding, and Democratic governors in Connecticut and Pennsylvania have proposed carving out money in state budgets to counter the effects of the national provider’s fallout with the Republican presidential administration. (Haigh, 2/21)
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